Gout is a kind of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the blood, which causes hard crystals to form in your joints. Attacks of sudden burning pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint, typically a big toe, can happen over and over unless gout is treated.

Gout is more common in middle-aged men, but also can affect post-menopausal women. Over time, untreated, gout can harm your joints, tendons, and other tissues. Your chances of getting gout are higher if you are overweight, drink too much alcohol, or eat too much meat and fish that are high in chemicals called purines. Some medicines, such as water pills (diuretics), can also bring on gout.


Typically the rheumatologist will drain the joint and have the fluid analyzed to confirm the diagnosis. At this time, an injection of corticosteroids can be administered, which is usually very effective in stopping the attack. Sometimes the diagnosis is obvious, and oral medications are used instead. Relief from a gout attack often begins within 24 hours if you start treatment right away. Long-term treatment to prevent gout attacks focuses on lowering uric acid in the blood using medications, such as Allopurinol and Uloric. You can help to control gout by eating moderate amounts of a healthy mix of foods to control your weight and get the nutrients you need. Dietary modifications like limiting daily intake of meat, seafood, and alcohol (especially beer) can also help to lower uric acid levels.

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